Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is looking for sponsorship for an outstanding proposal to the RNC Rules Committee aimed at decentralizing power away from the RNC Chairman. While his proposal is unlikely to find support amongst the majority of pro-establishment members of the influential Rules Committee, Ken’s reforms are precisely what the GOP needs to grow the base going forward.
The idea: strip the Republican National Committee chair of power and decentralize control of the party apparatus, handing it over to the 168 RNC members who compose the national party. The package, according to three sources who’ve been briefed on the matter, would also aim to diminish the overall power of the RNC and empower grass-roots conservatives in future party nominations. Under the concept, for example, the RNC chair would lose the power to appoint powerful party officers. Politico
Unsurprisingly, Cuccinelli’s proposals are not only meeting resistance from the establishment, but he is also meeting resistance from Trumps’ Progressive Populist wing of the party. While the principled conservative wing of the Republican may be shrinking, much of the groundwork laid since 2007 has put many of our people in powerful positions within the party. The rise of Donald Trump and the populists has discouraged many Republicans from participating in our organizational politics and the disinterest and apathy of old members has created more and more opportunities for principled conservatives to get involved.
It has never been more crucial for constitutionalists, conservatives, and libertarians to get involved with their local committees. The future war between the corporatists and the populists within the party places us at the center of Republican Party politics and the center is a magnificent strategic advantage. However, as we increase our numbers within our local and state party’s, all of the real power remains in the hands of a small group of powerful representatives at the heart of the RNC. Ken Cuccinelli’s proposal spreads that power out, increasing the influence of our representatives who make up the national party.
As members of the grassroots, understanding the structure of the Republican Party is paramount to understanding where and with whom power rests. (The picture above features the Colorado structure, but the structure is quite similar across the country). Currently, the RNC Chairman has remarkable appointment powers, much like the Speaker of the House. The ability for one man to control our party’s committee’s makes it impossible for the grassroots to represent their interests at the highest levels of the party. Clearly, we’re a long ways away from having one of our own as Chairman of the RNC, since neither the establishment nor the progressive populists will support us. That said, over time, we could put together a majority coalition on the Republican National Committee.
As a movement, we have moved beyond the need for facebook social media warriors and angry letters to the editor. Conservatives must take a more aggressive interest in Republican Party organizational politics and support proposals, such as the one offered by Ken Cuccinelli, that empower local, state, and national committees to set the national agenda and strategy for the RNC as a whole. A failure to actively pursue influence within the party itself will only serve to either empower the established operatives who’ve been running the party for years or to open the door to the populists, who will likely turn the Republican Party into something utterly unrecognizable to constitutionalists, conservatives, and libertarians.